How do spine conditions develop between the vertebrae?

The individual vertebrae that form the spinal column and protect the spinal cord have parts that link them together while also having openings between them that allow nerve roots to exit and travel out to the rest of the body. These parts between the vertebrae, including the spinal discs and facet joints, endure a large amount of pressure and stress on a daily basis, making these areas prone to the development of conditions that can be the source of potentially debilitating pain and other symptoms.

Whether you have been diagnosed with a spine condition or are researching the possible causes of neck and back pain, the following information can help you be more engaged with the treatment process. This knowledge can help you work more closely with your doctor to develop an effective treatment plan to get you back to a healthy and active lifestyle.

Issues that can occur between the vertebrae

The spinal nerves that send signals to the rest of the body exit through small openings between the vertebrae, called foramina, which can be easily constricted by a damaged disc or inflamed joint. However, issues with the discs or joints between the vertebrae can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms often travel along the nerve pathway to a different part of the body. The location of symptoms experienced depends on the specific location of nerve compression in the spinal column:

  • Cervical (upper) vertebrae. This is the portion of the spine in the neck and upper back which may produce symptoms of pain, weakness, tingling or numbness that spread into the shoulders, arms and hands.
  • Thoracic (middle) vertebrae. This is the portion of the spine in the middle back — between the base of the neck and the bottom of the rib cage — which may produce symptoms around the rib cage, near the kidneys or in the pelvic region.
  • Lumbar (lower) vertebrae. This is the portion of the spine in the lower back which may produce symptoms that radiate through the buttocks, down the legs and then wrap around the calf and into the feet and toes.

Treatment options for spine conditions

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s possible that there is an issue with a disc, joint or between the vertebrae. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to receive diagnosis and treatment advice. For many patients, conservative treatments such as medication, physical therapy, exercise, hot/cold therapy or other treatments may help relieve the pain from a spine condition. However, if you’re experiencing chronic disc pain and a reduced quality of life, it may be time to consider spine surgery.

Laser Spine Institute provides minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures on an outpatient basis, meaning our patients can experience a shorter recovery period^ and reduced risk of complication compared to traditional open neck or back surgery. Contact Laser Spine Institute and our dedicated team today for more information.

We offer a no-cost MRI review* to help you find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.